New immersive 'digital doorway' makes the Border Ranges accessible from home

People can now experience some of Border Ranges National Park's most spectacular landscapes from the comfort of home thanks to four new immersive experiences which have been developed using innovative digital storytelling technology.

Antarctic beech trees (Nothofagus moorei), Border Ranges National Park

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Conservation Team Leader Caroline Blackmore said the World Heritage-listed Border Ranges National Park protects untouched rainforest and unique plants and animals connected to the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana.

"Distance, accessibility, terrain – we know there are many reasons why people may not be able to visit the national park physically, but digital storytelling technology presents endless opportunities to welcome new visitors to this incredible place," said Dr Blackmore.

"We've developed four 360-degree interactive images which spotlight some of the park's most precious and significant landscapes, animals, and plants.

"As people 'explore' the landscapes, which range from rainforest to rocky escarpment habitat, engaging pop-ups offer quirky and interesting facts, images and audio about the endangered animals protected within these habitats," said Dr Blackmore.

Border Ranges 360 experiences are an inclusive experience for those with limited mobility, an interactive educational tool for schools, and a digital doorway for those curious to learn about places they are unable to visit.

Users can meet and learn more about threatened species, like the endangered Eastern bristlebird and Fleay's barred frog, that are protected within the park's declared Assets of Intergenerational Significance areas, as well as vulnerable species like the Albert's lyrebird and spotted-tailed quoll, or the incredible life of the fig tree wasp.

"Through this dynamic content we are able to show visitors why places like the Border Ranges National Park are special and the irreplaceable natural values that they protect," said Dr Blackmore.

"Using technology to bring national parks into people's loungerooms is a fantastic way to raise awareness about these important natural assets and make them accessible to everyone.

"We are delighted to invite more people to share in the magic of these precious places," said Dr Blackmore.

The interactive experiences aim to drive awareness of the NPWS Assets of Intergenerational Significance (AIS) program. AIS areas have been declared to provide increased legal protections for the habitat of some of the most threatened and irreplaceable animals and plants in our parks.

To date there are 279 AIS areas declared across 127 national parks and reserves in New South Wales, protecting key habitat for 108 threatened plant and animal species.

Border Ranges 360 experiences can be accessed at nswparks.info/border360.

Images for media: Dropbox

Example of 360 experience